Wild Turkey Tamales

Great with any wild game, including shredded wild turkey breasts. Slow roast deer neck and shoulder roasts, shred the meat and wrap it up in masa.

About the Masa,
To prepare the masa, pick up a bag at the grocery store and follow the directions on the bag for tamale dough. I start with 2 cups masa harina flour, 2/3 cup melted Crisco, 1 1/4 cups warm chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Start mixing with a fork, but eventually you’ll need to get in there with your hands to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed. The masa should be the consistency of moist cookie dough. If it’s too dry, add a little more chicken broth. Too wet, mix in a little more masa harina flour.

The Corn Husks
Dried corn husks are available in grocery stores and Hispanic markets. If you can’t find them in yours, try it with fresh corn husks or parchment paper cut into a large triangle about the size of an outside corn husk.

And the Stuffing
The following recipe will get you started on your way to tamale greatness, but you really should experiment and make up your own signature tamales. One of my favorites is mushroom and brie cheese.

Wild Turkey Tamales

Servings: 16 small tamales


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup onion diced
  • 1 cup fresh tomatillos quartered (or substitute green tomatoes or omit)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 tespoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked wild turkey breast cut into 1/2 cubes or shredded


  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes. Add chile powder, cumin, salt and turkey breast and stir to blend flavors. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes and then allow to cool.
  • For each tamale, lay the corn husk on a flat surface with the narrow end pointing towards you. Take about 2 – 3 tablespoons of the masa and spread evenly along the bottom quarter of the corn husk, about 1/2 inch from any edge of the husk. In the center of the masa, place a few tablespoons of the turkey mixture. Fold the left edge over the stuffing. The idea is to surround the stuffing with masa. Fold the right edge over and fold the bottom up towards the center. Place in a hot steamer basket with a water level just under the bottom of the basket. Place tamales fold-side-down in basket, leaving a little room between each so that steam can cook each one. Add water as they steam, if necessary. Tamales will take from 25 – 40 minutes to steam, depending on how big they are. They will be soft, moist and hot when cooked and will firm up as they start to cool.

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